Ken Ofori-Atta’s 2017 budget statement and economic policy presented before parliament is nothing but an absolute trick to deceive Ghanaians. Former Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, has described.
According to him, the budget does not fit into the country’s medium-term objectives and will lead the country into a ditch.
“Now go to Abossey Okai today, we did a research on them some time ago, and in excess of 80% of what they sell are over-age vehicles. What you are doing is that, you are encouraging over-aged vehicles, the emission rate is going to go up, and the health hazards are there. Ghana is continuously going to be a dumping ground, so I think it is not well-thought through.” This is was the former Minister said in regards to the abolishing of duties on importation of spare parts.
Hon. Ato Forson therefore cast a doubt on the government’s announced plans of raising revenue, which he said were “overly ambitious.”
He warned that Ghanaians should brace themselves for a difficult medium term challenges ahead of them.
“I’ll tell Ghanaians not to be happy yet, because what I can see is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
He also predicted that, government will not meet its revenue targets for the fiscal year.
Presenting the abridged version of the government’s 2017 budget statement before Parliament Thursday March 2, 2017, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta announced the expulsion of several taxes it labeled as irritants.
“A number of tax measures have been introduced in recent years in an attempt to deal with revenue shortfalls. Some have proven to be nuisance taxes,” he said.
According to him, taxes have no revenue yielding potential, burdening the private sector and the average Ghanaian.
The taxes abolished, he said are; The 1% Special Import Levy – Kayayei market tolls – 17.5% VAT/NHIL on financial services – 17.5% VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines that are not produced locally – 17.5% VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets – Duty on imported spare parts – 5% VAT/NHIL on Real estate sales – Exercise duty on petroleum
Also, he said corporate income tax will be progressively reduced from 25% to 20% in 2018, 17.5% of VAT/NHIL will be replaced with 3% flat rate for traders as well as Tax credits and other incentives for businesses that hire young graduates from tertiary institutions – Tax incentives for young entrepreneurs and Reduce special petroleum tax rate from 17.5% to 15%.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said the cuts are part of “our commitment to re-energize the private sector, the government has decided, as pledged, to review these taxes to provide relief for business. ”
But Mr. Forson, who is also a ranking member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, disagreed, arguing that the announcement by Mr. Ofori-Atta will further cripple the economy.
By: Blessing Roselyn Boateng